Polartec, a leading provider of innovative and sustainable textile solutions, introduces Polartec Power Air, a fabric technology engineered to reduce fibre shedding. By encapsulating lofted fibres within a multilayer, continuous yarn fabric construction, this new platform is designed to offer advanced thermal efficiency that is proven to shed five times less than other premium ‘mid-layer’ weight fabrics.
Insulation that effectively regulates core body temperature has traditionally been achieved via lofted or high-pile knit structures that hold warm air. Polartec recognised that any exposed fibre is susceptible to shedding as a function of normal wear. The Polartec Power Air construction process mitigates this by encasing the insulating lofted fibres within the knitting process, the company explains.
“By using the efficiency of encapsulated air to shelter lofted fibres, Polartec Power Air will drastically improve how fabrics perform over their lifetime with respect to versatility, comfort, and sustainability,” said Gary Smith, Polartec CEO. “We’re only beginning to realize the potential for this new type of fabric construction.”
Initially for apparel, Polartec Power Air technology will be publicly unveiled by Polartec CEO Gary Smith tomorrow, at Performance Days in Munich Germany. The Polartec Power Air Hoody is now available from adidas, with more brands including Houdini and Mammut set to release their own offerings in the coming months.
Greater design versatility
While creating a more environmentally sound construction was the initial inspiration for Power Air, the innovation also enables greater design versatility, with distinctive visual signatures, according to the manufacturer. The initial release features an internal grid structure on one side not unlike ‘fabric bubble wrap’ which simultaneously holds air and increases breathability, while the other side features a smooth, durable outer surface that resists pilling and minimises drag.
The company believes its Polartec Power Air is a foundational technology platform that will eventually provide shedding reduction to all existing apparel categories, including insulation, lightweight next to skin, and extreme weather protection. The innovation has recently gained recognition from the World Textile Information Network with its Future Textile Award for Best Innovation: Sustainable Textiles.
“Polartec has never shied away from solving tough, intractable problems,” said Mike Rose, Polartec VP of Product Development. “Power Air has the potential to be our most significant development since pioneering the process to knit fabrics made of post-consumer plastic bottles.”
Power Air is the latest product of Polartec Eco-engineering. Eco-engineering is the process by which Polartec deploys recycled inputs, advanced production techniques, highly efficient logistics, and rigorous testing and certifications to create an innovation pipeline devoted to producing sustainable fabrics with elite performance characteristics.
Polartec has built many unique, robust and repeatable testing protocols that emulate a lifetime of use and abuse from serious athletes and professionals. In the case of Polartec Power Air, a whole new testing protocol had to be invented to measure shedding due to home laundering. The protocol simulates dozens of launderings in a single cycle to accurately capture any microfibres lost in a lifetime of use. The test then accurately determines the percentage of weight loss due to shedding.